An analysis of the politicisation of the pastoral practice of cattle raiding in South Sudan, and its enduring consequences on peace and stability.
This paper examines the politicisation of cattle raiding in South Sudan. A traditional practice once governed by traditional authorities and ritual practice, it became armed, militarised and politicised to serve political ends during civil war. The consequences of this have had implications ever since, with the rise of armed community defence groups and violent conflicts at the subnational level, as well as playing a significant role in the most recent civil war.
The paper illustrates linkages with the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and how traditional techniques and authorities have been undermined for political ends. While this study is of an extreme case in South Sudan, it highlights the implications this has on achieving substantive peace, and the complications of normal community-based interventions when those communities have been politicised and traditional authority undermined.